The launch date of my new novel, Currawong Creek is fast approaching. Penguin Books (Aust) is offering a digital price promotion ahead of the new title’s release. The ebook of Brumby’s Run (usually $12.99) is available at $4.99 until the 28th June. For those who haven’t read it, today I’m posting a Penguin Q&A about Brumby’s Run for your information. Here’s the link for last week’s Currawong Creek Q&A
Penguin Q & A with Jennifer Scoullar, author of Brumby’s Run
What is your book about?
- Brumby’s Run is a story about a young woman named Samantha. She discovers she has a twin sister, Charlie, who is critically ill. City girl Sam soon finds herself running her sister’s farm, high in the Victorian alps. This new life, Charlie’s life, intrigues her. Bit by bit she falls in love with the mountains, the brumbies and with handsome neighbour Drew Chandler, her sister’s erstwhile lover. Sam begins to wish that Charlie might never come home.
What or who inspired it?
- Originally I was inspired by the classic Banjo Paterson poem of the same name. It is one of my absolute favourites. But I was also inspired by the magnificent wild horses of the high country, and the fine work done by Australia’s various Brumby welfare associations.
- My biggest challenge was finishing the novel in time to pitch to Penguin at the 2011 RWA Conference. I only just made it!
What did you want to achieve with your book?
- I wanted to share my love of Victoria’s beautiful upper Murray region, and pay tribute to the fabled wild horses of the high country. I also wanted to entertain readers with a passionate and unusual love story.
What do you hope for your book?
- I hope it may be widely read and enjoyed.
Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?
- The horses are based on my own, favourite animals, past and present.
Do you have a favourite character or one you really enjoyed writing?
- I have a soft spot for Charlie, and really admire her spirit.
What do you see as the major themes in your book?
- One of the major themes in Brumby’s Run is our search for personal identity. The book also explores our relationship with animals and the environment.
What made you set it in Victoria’s high country? – I have a great love for this region, and it is where the Brumbies are.
Did the title come instantly to you or did you labour over it? – I’d always wanted to base my novel on Banjo Paterson’s classic bush poem, Brumby’s Run, so the title was a given.
To whom have you dedicated the book and why? – I’ve dedicated the book to Australia’s various Brumby welfare associations, in acknowledgement of the wonderful work they do protecting our wild horses.
Who do you think will enjoy your book?
- Anybody who enjoys passionate love stories, set in Australia’s spectacular wild places.
Do you have a special ‘spot’ for writing at home? (If so, describe it)
- I have a small office space off the lounge room (no door!), but with a noisy family, this isn’t always ideal. My favourite spot is over at the stables. Horses are good listeners, and don’t mind you reading aloud.
Do you like silence or music playing while you’re writing?
- Silence. I’m easily distracted otherwise.
When did you start writing?
- As a child I was an avid reader and loved writing stories and poems. I began my very first novel when I was eleven years old.
Did you always want to become an author?
- I did, but then I grew up, and life kind of got in the way. There was long gap before I returned to my original passion for writing.
Tell us a bit about your childhood?
- I was a horse-mad child. My family had a house in Melbourne as well as a property in the mountains. At every chance I escaped to the farm to be with my horses.
If you’ve had other jobs outside of writing, what were they?
- I graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Law and Jurisprudence, and worked for a while as a solicitor. I have also raised four children, with the youngest one still at school. Now that’s a job!
Describe yourself in three words? – Passionate, compassionate and curious.
- I’m a Capricorn. That’s an earth sign, and I do feel a deep spiritual connection to the earth. Typically Capricorns are ambitious and serious, with a strong work ethic. I suppose that describes me. They are also supposed to be neat and tidy. That definitely doesn’t describe me!
What three things do you dislike?
- Cruelty, greed and indifference.
What three things do you like?
- My family, my animals and having the opportunity to write, in that order.
Have you a family, partner or are you single?
- As I said before, I have four wonderful children. I am divorced and do not have a partner. Maybe no real-life man can measure up to my fictional outback heroes!